The Art of Walking Tall in the Professional Jungle - Alterre

December 1st, 2023

The Art of Walking Tall in the Professional Jungle

 Contributor: Harmony Richards

Welcome, fierce ladies, to the realm of power suits, coffee-fueled brainstorming sessions, and the occasional game of corporate politics. In this wild world of professional prowess, it takes a certain level of willful mastery to walk tall in any scenario. Why? Because nothing says success like striding into the boardroom with the confidence of a catwalk queen.

Understanding the Power of Body Language:

Think of your body as if you are walking the red carpet—straighten that spine, ladies! It's not just about walking; it's about sending a message without saying a word. So, shoulders back, head high, and remember: your walk should scream "CEO," not "I forgot my lunch in the microwave."

Zendaya had an amazing clip on TikTok where she showcases her everyday walk, versus red carpet walk. We’re not saying you need to walk at a level 10 sultry saunter, but she showcases the power of poise.

Cultivating Inner Confidence:

I think it’s fair to say even the most successful women, by world standards, have suffered from bouts of imposter syndrome.  We have had to learn to be our own hype woman and bless the shifting perspectives of tearing other women down to lifting each other up.

When those bouts or worries start bubbling up, channel your inner superhero and embrace your strengths. Yes, you can leap tall office politics in a single bound! Say adios to self-doubt; you've got this. Set goals, crush them, and let that success fuel your unstoppable confidence.

Something we like to do at the office to cultivate inner confidence is celebrate the wins and recall them either at the end of a meeting or later in the quarter.  According to Elizabeth A. Kensinger, a professor of psychology at Boston College

In order for a previous event to be remembered, at least three memory phases must occur successfully. First, the event must be recorded by sensory registers and encoded. Second, the event must be consolidated into a stable and lasting representation. Third, the event must be retrieved.

While this method is often naturally used negative heightened emotions, it’s less likely to happen for positive ones.  So, anyone can effectively nurture a strong foundation of inner confidence simply by recognizing their wins, summarizing them out loud, and recalling them.

Effective Communication Strategies:

It's not just about talking; it's about speaking the language of power. As cringey as it may seem, assertiveness is your BFF, but remember, subtlety is the spice of life. Negotiate like a pro, persuade with finesse, and remember, a well-timed joke can be your secret weapon. Who said assertiveness can't have a sense of humor?

I recently read this book called Humor, Seriously and it changed my entire perspective on humor in the workplace.  It’s a strategy I would encourage any woman to hone as an effective way to command respect and build productive teams.

Navigating Challenges in Professional Settings:

In a world where "leaning in" is the norm, sometimes you need to pirouette around gender bias. Address stereotypes with a raised eyebrow and a killer comeback (refer back to my comment on reading Humor, Seriously). When in doubt, remember: you're not just breaking glass ceilings; you're tap dancing on them.

Balancing Confidence with Empathy:

Being a powerhouse doesn't mean leaving empathy at the door. Lead with a heart as big as your ambitions. Imagine ruling the corporate world with a blend of confidence and kindness. Picture this: You, the CEO, making tough decisions with a smile that could melt an iceberg. Now that's power!

I have this fond memory of an ex-boyfriend's mother who is an unsung hero for the advancement of women in the corporate world.  I’m leaving her name anonymous as I don’t have her consent to share it. Anyway, she was the first female executive at a Fortune 500 company and changed the landscape of the company forever. She altered the dress code for women to allow dress pants over skirts, demanded women have access to the corporate gym with their own locker room and created an equation to predict the stock markets (no, she did not get credit for it). These are only a few highlights of her many accomplishments.

Yet, as successful as she was, there was always a barrier to speaking frankly with her male counterparts.  In many ways, she had to strategically show more empathy to progress her cause.  Yes,  cringe at how outdated this corporate setting may sound, but now gasp to hear her entry into the executive role was only around 30 years ago.

She had a particular tactic of bringing homemade chocolate chip cookies on days she had terrible news. That has stuck with me to this day.   

It was not that she had copious amounts of time to bake on a weeknight, but the gesture was the difference between being seen as kind versus ice cold.

Concluding thoughts...

Walking tall in the professional jungle isn't just about walking; it's about owning your path with style and a generous serving of humor and kindness. Remember, ladies, confidence is your accessory of choice, and a witty remark is your secret handshake. So, step into those power heels (hopefully Alterre’s), walk tall, and conquer the corporate runway. The world is your boardroom, and you own it!

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